Sunday, September 23, 2012


I'm going to steal MJM's comment on this post and simply observe that there exists a simple, foolproof solution to stopping piracy--and eliminating the possibility of any fair use by anyone--which is to simply not distribute your content digitally.  Problem solved.

Obviously, this is not going to happen.  Obviously, they still find it profitable, or they wouldn't keep doing it.  Therefore, the problem isn't that they aren't getting paid, but that they aren't getting paid enough.  You know--greed.

I know that "greed" is a loaded word.  I think the problem is that a lot of people don't have a proper  understanding of what it means.  Let's try a dictionary:

1. excessive consumption of or desire for food; gluttony
2. excessive desire, as for wealth or power

The key word is excessive.  The left loves to use greed to refer to selfishness, as in, "The Wall Street traders destroyed our economy.  They are so greedy."  Whereas the right tends to characterize the left's use of greed as indicating a desire to take what does not belong to them, as in "I've worked hard all my life to earn what I've got, but the liberals call me greedy for wanting to keep it".  In my opinion these are both misuses of the word.

Wall Street traders, for example, were more selfish than greedy when they destroyed the economy a few years ago.  They didn't think about the consequences of their actions, which is selfish and stupid.  If you are thinking about the consequences of your actions, then by definition, you are not being selfish.  Greed was a CEO taking a massive bonus after getting bailed out by Washington.  Or taking a bonus after laying off thousands of workers.  Obviously that money could be deployed more usefully to the company than just giving it to someone--but a bunch of people had to suffer to make it happen.

That being said, the inherent act of a CEO laying of a thousand people is not greedy.  It's taking a massive bonus while doing so that is.  Sometimes layoffs are necessary when a CEO is incompetent.  But he doesn't have to enjoy it.

But the right is equally confused.  Taxes are not a greedy grab by the populace for your money--they are what you owe to your country for providing this nice law and order and infrastructure and security that enables you to even have a chance of accumulating your wealth.

Greedy is hurting a lot of people so that you can have two billion dollars instead of one.  A billion dollars is already more money than you can possibly spend in a lifetime.  No one is begruding you the right to try and double it.  But if you do it at the expense of others, then that is greed.  Greed is pointless.

So to sum up: driving down the highway to your illegal Russian orgy and cocaine fest is not so greedy.  Financing the activity by ripping people off, is.

Making money on the internet with digital content is not greedy.  Trying to control what everyone does on the internet so that you can make more money at it, is truly, profoundly, greedy.

No comments:

Post a Comment